023: How To Build Your Business Like a CEO
Have you got a good idea about some of the things that you have to do to build your business, but you're still not getting the outcome that you want? Is it that you're not quite clear what being a CEO really means and how you can achieve the success that you visualise? Having spent 20 years in corporate working for a leading advertising agency in London, I certainly understand the power of a CEO mindset and how that can create all the difference between what you have and what you need. Today I'd like to share with you a live training that really dives into this area, about why we don't seem to have what we want even when we might be learning the skills.
What it is that's holding us back and what we can we learn from CEOs that, as solopreneurs, is going to make all the difference as to how we build our businesses successfully? Welcome to Action Taker Tribe podcast. I'm your host, Jo Ingram. Let's dive in.
Here's a truth, because knowing what to do is only half the picture.
Knowing what to do doesn't necessarily mean that we do it and there are so many reasons why we don’t. Being the CEO who implements is what I believe is the magic sauce. If you didn't get everything done and you know what stopped you - we know that we all fall into these forms of self-sabotage and we lack prioritisation, or we lack organisation, we don't do what we said we would do. Here's the truth - if we can implement and be the CEO to demand that of ourselves, then the success is going to come a lot faster for our businesses.
There's a CEO genome project which I found absolutely fascinating, which was reported in Harvard Business Review, and it said this;
Successful CEOs tend to demonstrate four specific behaviours that prove critical to their performance. Interestingly, when CEOs aspire to be great leaders, they can deliberately develop these behaviours – and when they do, they dramatically raise the odds that they will become high-performing chief executives.
What are those four behaviours that Harvard Review has reported? The first of the four successful CEO behaviours is making decisions with speed and conviction. Secondly, it's engaging for impact. When it comes to CEOs this is talking about them engaging their boards and other stakeholders, but the same is true for us as entrepreneurs; we have plenty of stakeholders. They might be people that interact with us on Instagram, or they might be people we collaborate with, but it's about relationships. We can't deny that being an entrepreneur – coaches, course creators, creators - being in that zone where we're engaging with creating relationships is something that's going to level up our business. Thirdly, adapting proactively. You would have had to have adapted from where you were before. You have to be proactive in taking the lead, not wait for it to happen to you. Finally, delivering reliably. Delivering reliably needs no explanation, but it is incredibly important. In fact, Harvard Business Review actually says that the ability to deliver reliably is the most powerful of all of the four successful CEO behaviours. It is defined as consistently following through on your commitments. Perhaps you're feeling like, ‘oh yes, that's something that I definitely need to get better at, actually following through on what I say I'm going to do’. In fact, the CEOs who scored high on reliability were 15 times more likely to succeed. So being reliable is where we're talking about being able to be consistent and following through on what you need to do for your business.
Marie, thank you for saying you were a manager that could make decisions with speed and conviction, but you are not so great at doing it in your own business. It's an interesting thing, actually. For all of us in the room who've been employees - and some of us still are employees - when you have a manager it's very interesting that you behave very differently to when you are your own manager. Part of this CEO mindset stuff is starting to manage yourself. I saw a really good Mel Robbins’ video just yesterday and she was saying that, given the choice, we would all just lie in bed. We would all lie in front of Netflix. We would all just not bother. We have to be the parent to ourselves.
We have to be the manager to ourselves and actually create that accountability and those thoughts that will enable us to be consistent and level up.
Those are of course habits.
The habits that we produce as a CEO are what's going to make the difference between someone that has some good ideas but doesn't quite get there and somebody that consistently moves forward, no matter what pitfalls come in the way, and eventually achieves the success that's in their vision.
Here's a question - are you showing up for your business? Do you believe that you're giving it 10 out of 10? Give me a mark out of 10 in the chat for this month - how well do you feel like you might have shown up for your business? The truth is that it's variable. We’re never going to say every single month is eights, nines, and tens. However, we do want to create a consistency where we’re certainly leaving behind those numbers below five and we can produce that consistency as we go forward.
How do we focus on what we need to do to be a good CEO? It is incredibly powerful, and I revisit this often - it's the be, do, have model. It's very, very simple and it says the following - what do I have to be in order to do the things I need to do so I can have the things I want to have because too often, people - in general, and entrepreneurs especially - focus on what we want to have. I want a six-figure business, I want to work three days a week, I want, I want, oh well, this is my vision. That's good and it's valuable. We've all worked on our vision. The problem is with the vision is that it doesn't just manifest on its own, but many of us believe in manifestation, and I'm certainly not going to go contrary to that because I also believe in energy. However, we do have to take responsibility for how we drive towards our vision. That happens in the things that we do, but in order to do the things that you need to do, we have to be the person that does those things. It's very, very easy to know what to do and yet not do them, so the key there is to be the person who will actually effect that change. This is an amazing quote from Gandhi - he said, the future depends on what you do today.
Here's the truth; we're all a sum of our habits and it's that consistent action that's really necessary to drive us forward. We have to create the habits that are necessary to lead us, to put in the work - because it is work - and we have to do things that make us feel uncomfortable.
Whether it’s becoming more visible or making an offer that makes us feel uncomfortable as entrepreneurs, we're constantly having to push into areas that make us feel like we don't want to do it. Whether it's coming to a decision about what our offer actually is or all of the other things, we have to make the right decisions to be strong and steady and consistent in our approach to business. Here's the thing that I love - it's not actually that complicated, it's just simple actions that we repeat every day. There is no such thing as an overnight success or indeed an overnight failure - we're literally the result of our habits.
I am a big fan of Jeff Olson's book called The Slight Edge. His message is that simple actions repeated every day, create a compound effect. Many of us are familiar with the term compound interest. This is simply the element of time - when you do something consistently over time you get this compound effect, which is so beneficial and that's, for us, the result of our habits. That Jeff Olson quote is just so fabulous. It says ‘the things you do every single day, the things that don't look dramatic, don't even look like they matter, do matter. They not only make a difference they make all the difference’. This is true of everything in life – from what we eat to the exercise we do - but in business, whether we spend a lot of time scrolling on Instagram before we've actually created content, before we've shown up for our business, are we falling into bad habits? It's so easily done and before you know it, you realise that actually your habits aren't serving you. It's the idea that we're always going fall into traps, but we have to course correct.
Course correcting is such a valuable way of making sure that we don't end up for a long period of time losing out on that fantastic compound effect. Do you know that if you fly a plane from LA to New York and it’s one degree off, you'll land in Delaware - which is, I believe, 150 miles away from New York? That's just one degree. If you use that as an analogy for your business, and you're just off by that 1% but you leave it for that entire journey, you're going to end up a long way away from the vision that you've crafted and where you want to be. This is our opportunity to basically course-correct like the pilot and the plane, seeing that we're one degree off and just simply tapping back into the right course so we can continue towards our vision.
Ultimately how we show up in our business is how we show up in life.
By the way, if you're wondering, ‘I don't really know what my habits are, I don't know if they're good or bad’, the clue is always in your environment. If you just look around and say, ‘what are the results I'm getting? How fast am I moving in my business? How am I feeling about my progression?’, that will be the clue about how your habits are serving you or not serving you. Ultimately, we just need to be the person who will succeed in our goals by creating the habits in order to be that person.
One of the best ways that I find to make sure that all of these considerations are top of mind frequently. so you can keep building your business and leveling up every single month, is to make sure that you do a CEO day at least every month. It's pretty simple and I go into loads of detail about it way back in episode three, so if you haven't listened to that episode yet please check it out in whatever player you listen to your podcasts – it’s called why you need a CEO day. It's all about taking strategic action for your business every month and it comes with an accompanying workbook, which is called run your own CEO day.
It's basically a series of questions that you should ask yourself every single month. I'm going to put a link to that in the show notes, but go back to episode three, because it's like a training session. You can grab the workbook, follow the podcast, and literally learn how to conduct your own CEO day all by yourself If you need to. If you are finding that you're spinning your wheels and you're not leveling up each month, your business does not seem to be growing and you don't know how to implement this CEO day for yourself, or perhaps you haven't yet found the discipline to actually do it and you need that motivation, then spin me a DM. Let's have a chat because I am now offering CEO day power hours.
Well, I say power hours, actually 90 minutes that we can spend together. I can go through all the CEO behaviours and questions with you and help you formulate your own CEO day strategy, so you can make sure that you're moving forward every single month and you're not feeling like this might not be for you after all. If that's for you, send me a note and let's have a chat. Have an action filled week. Take care. Bye now
Links mentioned in this episode:
1) Grab the FREE CEO DAY workbook - click here
2) Listen in to the 'Why You Need A CEO Day' Episode #3
3) Book a 90-Minute CEO Day Power Session with me - click here